Eric Bettencourt, a songwriter at heart, got his start In Portland Maine where is was known for expertly crafting a wide range of tunes around his scratchy, Janis Joplin-esque voice. Whether equipped with just an acoustic guitar, or with his whole backing band, Bettencourt combines folk, blues, and classic rock elements into always-pleasing melodic concoctions. He has admittedly learned from the rock gods themselves — Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Dylan — but is able to stay contemporary, also drawing on current artists like Iron and Wine and Ray LaMontagne. Combining guitar chops with lyrical prowess is a proven recipe for success and Bettencourt isn't afraid to go with what works. However, he still brings ingenuity to his tracks, often using unconventional arrangements.
In 2011 Bettencourt released his third full length album of all original music, Secret Songs For Secret People. The album was widely accepted by fans and critics alike. Six months later with the help of his band Weightless Embrace was released. Weightless Embrace is a six song EP with a limited run of 250 copies comprised solely rearranged cover songs. Production is currently underway on Bettencourt's forth full length album; no date or title has been decided on.
Although a staple on the Portland scene Bettencourt moved to Austin Texas seeking more opportunity in the burgeoning music scene there.
Written by:Mike Olcott
Portland Press Herald
The first thing that grabs you is that rusty set of pipes. Sometimes it sounds like Eric Bettencourt just won a fistfight down by the riverbank and he’s hollering up his new territory. Other tunes convey an old soul opening up to confess a guarded secret. Whatever the story, you believe the guy. Cast in ragged candor, he’s got “it.”
After years of loading gear in ice-cold alleyways, and scrapping for gas to get on stages, the people are starting to get a feel for how special this kid is. Take the first splash, Fine Old World. The fact that Bettencourt has brought Janis Joplin's wheeze and howl along is secondary on the debut. Listen for the songcraft, EB channels his raw talent into music that doesn't come from a magic recipe book, it's organic and accessible to all.“Sweet Elise” sounds like the inside of a summer country cottage, simple and soulful. On “Uniform,” Bettencourt proves he’s mastered Beatles’ caliber writing to tell his layered tales.
The soul blossoms because it's built on a technician’s foundation. EB's got Slow Hand's touch on guitars, electric and acoustic, lead and rhythm. He can shine whenever he chooses, but with mature ears and instincts, he’ll often be first to pull back for the good of the project. Take a tune like the mischievous “Stonewalled” from The Giraffe Attack collection, where a bouncy jig verse gives way somehow to a tearjerker, gospel-chorus. This is pop music with 1960’s street-cred, and it’s only going to come easier for the songwriter as his gift is properly nurtured. He's already shared the stage with national acts and graced the iTunes front page as a songwriter to watch.
What occupies Bettencourt when he’s not ruling stages and turning heads around town? Well, he can’t seem to shake the music for even a moment. He runs an independent label, Shadow Shine Records, and maintains a fully equipped recording studio to support his talent roster and his own career. Bettencourt has recorded, produced, and performed as much as any other single force in town. The guy is a flowing fountain of life to the Portland music scene, but it’s getting to be time for the world to find out. Meanwhile, with tricks to spare, and his own growing brand, Bettencourt will just keep on, howling with that torn timbre to the moon, till someone figures it out.